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New Order Allows Telemedicine For Pets And Animals

Wednesday, April 1, 2020  
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In an effort to support COVID-19 “stay home” measures, pets and animals in Arizona can now be examined by their veterinarians through telemedicine, under a new Executive Order issued today by Governor Doug Ducey, ensuring pet owners don’t have to leave their home.

The order opens the door for the first time ever to allow veterinarians to provide medical services to animals, while the state works to slow the spread of COVID-19 through physical distancing measures. The order also prevents vets from charging more for telemedicine than for an office or in-person visit.

“Even as we physically distance, we want to ensure that pet owners and livestock producers can access the resources they need to properly care for animals,” said Governor Ducey. “This order allows veterinary professionals to carry out their commitment to caring for Arizona animals, including house pets and farm animals, while Arizona residents practice physical distancing and limit time away from home.”

The Executive Order takes effect today, April 1st, and remains in effect throughout the state’s Public Health Emergency. Under the order: 

  • The use of telemedicine may be used by licensed veterinarians in Arizona;

  • The Arizona State Veterinary Medical Board may establish reasonable requirements and parameters for telehealth services, including recordkeeping, but such requirements and parameters may not be more restrictive or less favorable to providers than are required for veterinary medical services delivered in-person;

  • And veterinary providers cannot charge more for a telemedicine visit than they would for an in-person visit.

All electronic means of delivering veterinary telehealth, including telephone and video calls, to enable individuals to remain in their homes are allowed under the Executive Order. This measure allows veterinarians to continue to perform their duties and provide care to Arizona animals and allows pet owners to receive the care their pets need — while minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Last week, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order requiring health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit. This action helps ensure that Arizonans who may be sick or under quarantine can access care from their homes and avoid potentially risky trips to a health care provider.

  • View the Executive Order expanding veterinary telemedicine HERE.
  • View information on COVID-19, resources and volunteer opportunities at ArizonaTogether.org.